Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ spirits

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “angel”, came with this note:

Today’s story comes from behind The Times paywall. Summary: the Pope is trying to approve “spirit worship” to tackle the shortage of priests in the Amazon, and traditionalists are against it!

I can’t get access to the full Times story, nor could I find it anywhere else, but here’s a screenshot of what’s available:

Now I’m not sure what “spirit worship” is, but in the strip below Jesus seems to think it’s the spirits venerated by people in the Amazon, in which case they would be pagan spirits. At any rate, Jesus sees through the Papal ruse:


  1. Posted September 11, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Nothing new there – the early church was syncretist & adopted all sorts of local gods as ‘saints’ – I think St. Bridget is probably a version of a Celtic goddess for example –
    Which pope was it – Gregory?- who said they should take over old shrines for christian-inanity?

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Still today, in Southern Europe (e.g Italy) religious people needing something difficult to get (like their football team winning) would pray their favorite saint rather than god. I think the Catholic church was never completely monotheistic.

      • Murali
        Posted September 11, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Luigi Scrosoppi is supposed to be the patron saint of footballers. However, I suppose he has to remain impartial and not help any one side more than the other.

    • W.Benson
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      A large dose of pantheism (among the faithful) would probably do a good deal of good as far as preserving the Amazon forest is concerned. In any case syncretism is rampant in Brazilian religions, with the notable and dangerous exception of unforgiving hard-core Pentecostals and other stripes of Evangelical Protestantism.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Churches taking over pre-Christian worship sites? Who’d’a’thunk’it ? The people of Midmar
      Midmar? (and it’s oh-so-subtle Balblair stone, delicately shielded from the kirk by a belt of woodland). Sancta Maria ad Martyres? The Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los cielos.
      What is sauce for the goose is pretty good on the gander too. How many christian churches have been taken over by other churches, office and strip clubs in the last few decades, I don’t know but the list for England alone is over 200 strong.

  2. Jacob Goodman
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    One of my favorite cartoons

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Chrissake, next thing you know the Church will be incorporating pagan solstice rituals in an effort to bring heathens into the fold.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      It’ll be like Saturnalia, Beltain and Imbloc all rolled into one endless party.

  4. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    What do they distill in the Amazon? Maybe it is worth worshipping.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Surely some kind of manioc whiskey!

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      There is at least ayahuasca… but it could be dangerous. Perhaps for people who don’t like their brain very much?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 11, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        In terms of preparation, ayahuasca is more in the “tea” family of drinks than the beers, spirits, or … well, I’m not terribly up on ways of turning vegetable matter into drinkable matter, but I think I’ve covered most bases. Unless we’re talking about extracting alkaloids and such like chemical processing.

  5. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I worship Bacardi. Whether the Pope approves or not.



    • Posted September 11, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I worship Skittles and Johnny Walker. Can’t abide rum, but Captain Jack Sparrow makes it a thing worth aspiring.

  6. TJR
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    If they need more clergy in the Amazon, can’t they order them from some online shop?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know about you, but I think it has been far too long since the Baby Jesus Butt Plug was mentioned here.
      Hmmm, I’m not sure.

      Use him as the ultimate pacifier or …1 1/2 inches diameterHigh quality silicone

      I may be getting my languages wrong, but aren’t “pacifiers” what American’s call “dummy tits” ? But isn’t this a bit big? You’d really need to hammer it home. Which may be the point.

  7. Steve Pollard
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the transcript. Sorry it’s so long:

    “The Pope is paving the way for Vatican approval of spirit-worship in a desperate attempt to tackle a shortage of priests in the Amazon, critics have claimed.

    A synod planned by Pope Francis for next month has provoked the fiercest clash yet between the pontiff and his conservative critics.

    The council is due to discuss the dearth of clergy in the Amazon as well as the fires affecting the region.

    However, Walter Brandmüller, a German cardinal, has claimed that a document prepared ahead of the synod is “heretical” because of its respect for indigenous faiths and their veneration of nature.

    “In the context of the call for harmony with nature, there is even talk about the dialogue with the spirits,” he complained in a scathing essay published in June. The 90-year-old cardinal claimed references to “Mother Earth” echoed the Hitler Youth, who he said also evoked “a pantheistic idolatry of nature”. The synod document also backs the ordaining of older married men in the Amazon as a one-off solution to a clergy shortage so severe that some remote parishes are visited by a priest only twice a year.

    Detractors fear that it is the thin end of a wedge that will lead to the acceptance of married priests throughout the church.

    Marco Tosatti, an influential conservative Catholic blogger, said: “This is a plan hatched by the German bishops who back Pope Francis to introduce married priests in the Amazon so they can then export it to Europe, justified by the shortage here.”

    The Argentine Pope, 82, was elected in 2013 and has been supported by liberal German prelates but some of their compatriots in the college of cardinals have become his enemies.

    Gerhard Müller, 71, the German former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who was ousted over his conservative views by Francis in 2017, joined the fray last month.

    He claimed that the working document treated Catholic faith as if it were “European opinion” and criticised the document’s focus on nature being God’s creation, a cornerstone of Francis’s green agenda.

    “Man is the centre of creation and Jesus became man, he did not become a plant,” Cardinal Müller said. “This identification of God with nature is a form of atheism, because God is independent of nature.”

    Raymond Burke, 71, an influential American conservative cardinal, described the document as an “apostasy from the Catholic faith” in a letter to cardinals. Burke and Brandmüller are well-known critics of Francis and are championed by a small but well-funded section of the US Catholic media. The Pope appeared to shrug off the attacks this week, saying he was “honoured” to be in their crosshairs.

    Mr Tosatti, however, said that critics were also to be found in the pews. “The growing unease of rank-and-file Catholics will take another step forward with this synod,” he said. “Two million fewer Italians donating to the Church in the last five years means something.”

    Austen Ivereigh, a biographer of the Pope, defended the proposals. “The Church must have an Amazonian face, just as it must have an American or British face, and there needs to be respect for local, existing relationships with God,” he said”

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know if the Gerhard Muller referred to is the legendary former German striker. I suspect not.

  8. Rita Prangle
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    “Two million fewer Italians donating to the Church in the last five years means something.” My Catholic friends say it’s because they’re really pissed off about the pedophilia. They’re not too concerned about spirits in the Amazon.

  9. Roger
    Posted September 11, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The pope, selected by god, except when he’s not.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Does he poop in the woods?

  10. Rawandi
    Posted September 12, 2019 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    The English anthropologist E. B. Tylor discovered already in the nineteenth century that the essence of religion is animism, that is, the belief in separable souls of physical bodies. Primitive humans elaborated the animistic hypothesis to try to explain phenomena such as death (they imagined that the body dies when the soul definitively abandons it) and the oniric appearances of the dead (it would be about encounters with spirits from beyond).
    Modern science teaches us that the animistic hypothesis constitutes a trickery, since mental life is an emergent property of bodily matter. In the more advanced countries, the percentage of believers is gradually decreasing. Religions will eventually disappear when democratic institutions and scientific knowledge have spread throughout the planet.

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